Bert Wheeler

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Bert Wheeler
Dressed in tuxedos and top hats, Bert Wheeler (left) and Robert Woolsey (right) stand and smile for a publicity photo. An inscription appears in the top left corner.
Dressed in white tie and tails, Bert Wheeler (left) and Robert Woolsey (right) stand and smile for a publicity photo. An inscription appears in the top left corner.
Born (1895-04-07)April 7, 1895
Paterson, New Jersey
Died January 18, 1968(1968-01-18) (aged 72)
New York City
Nationality United States
Occupation Actor
Known for Wheeler & Woolsey

Albert Jerome "Bert" Wheeler (April 7, 1895–January 18, 1968) was an American comedian who performed in Broadway theatre, American comedy feature films, and vaudeville acts. He was the comedy partner of Robert Woolsey, and together they formed a successful double act called Wheeler & Woolsey.

Early life[edit]

Wheeler was born in Paterson, New Jersey in 1895. He worked with Robert Woolsey on Broadway until their film debut in 1929, Rio Rita, established them in the Hollywood film industry.

In the early 1940s, after Robert Woolsey had died, Bert Wheeler struggled to restart his career. Their friend and former film costar Dorothy Lee agreed to tour with him in a vaudeville act.

He continued to work off and on through the 1960s. His later appearances were mostly on American television; his last theatrical films were two slapstick short films for Columbia Pictures, filmed in 1950 and produced by Jules White. In 1955 Wheeler co-starred with Keith Larsen in the CBS western series Brave Eagle; Wheeler played the "half-breed" Smokey Joe, known for his tall tales and tribal wisdom.

Filmography[edit]

(As per the AFI database)[1]

Film title Year Character
Captain Fly-by-Night 1922 Governor
Rio Rita 1929 Chick
Dixiana 1930 Peewee
The Cuckoos 1930 Sparrow
Half Shot at Sunrise 1930 Tommy Turner
Hook, Line and Sinker 1930 Wilbur Boswell
Caught Plastered 1931 Tommy Tanner
Too Many Cooks 1931 Albert Bennett
Peach-O-Reno 1931 Wattles
Cracked Nuts 1931 Wendell Graham
Hold 'Em Jail 1932 Curly Harris
Girl Crazy 1932 Jimmy Deegan
Diplomaniacs 1933 Willy Nilly
So This Is Africa 1933 Wilbur Wheeler
Kentucky Kernels 1934 Willie Doyle
Hips, Hips, Hooray! 1934 Andy Williams
Cockeyed Cavaliers 1934 Bert
The Nitwits 1935 Johnny
The Rainmakers 1935 Billy
Silly Billies 1936 Roy Banks
Mummy's Boys 1936 Stanley Wright
On Again--Off Again 1937 William "Willy" Hobbs
High Flyers 1937 Jerry Lane
The Cowboy Quarterback 1939 Harry Lynn
Las Vegas Nights--"The Last Frontier Town" 1941 Stu Grant

Personal life[edit]

Wheeler was married five times, twice to actresses – Bernice Speer and then Sally Haines. His longest union was with Olga Desmondae Rieman, a former vaudevillian singer,[2] from 1951 to her death in 1966. His only child, with Speer, was Patricia Anne Wheeler, who died of cancer, the same year as her father.[3]

Death[edit]

Bert Wheeler died of emphysema in New York City in 1968.

Dvd Releases[edit]

Nine of Wheeler's 21 movies with his famous partner were released in a DVD collection entitled "Wheeler & Woolsey: RKO Comedy Classics Collection" in March 2013 by Warner Archive.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bert Wheeler". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  2. ^ Anderson, John C. "Olga Desmondae "Des" Rieman Wheeler (1899- 1966) Find A Grave Memorial". Ancestry.com. Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Bert Wheeler at the Internet Movie Database
  4. ^ Kehr, Dave (2 March 2013). "DVD Ribaldry Before the Code". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 March 2013.